Monday, November 2, 2015

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 2 (Part Ten)

When Were Clean and Unclean Animals Defined?
            The skeptic, familiar in a vague way as to what clean and unclean means in regard to animals, knows that they are defined in the Mosaic Law. However, at Genesis 7:1-3, Jehovah God speaks of clean and unclean animals to Noah. So, the skeptic reasons that such distinctions could not be defined twice, perhaps in different ways, at different times. Or, that the concept comes from earlier times and is fully defined for Israel in the Mosaic Law. (Oh! What is this? The Solution?)
            Yes, the skeptic makes too much of this “issue.” What animals were clean and unclean could have been more or less determined in Noah’s day, perhaps by God himself, and then God later affirmed his own definitions for the Israelites.[1] There is no contradiction!

Did Abraham Ask God to Spare the Innocent?
            Who can forget that Abraham asked (and Jehovah answered patiently to reassure Abraham): “Will you, then, sweep away them away and not pardon the place for the sake of the . . . righteous who are inside of it?” (Genesis 18:20-33 NWT) To the skeptic, this establishes some general statement – Abraham asked God to spare the innocent. This, they say conflicts with the way Abraham didn’t bother to ask God to spare Isaac, when Jehovah told him: “Take, please, you son, your only son whom you so love, Isaac, and travel to the land of Moriah and offer him up there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I will designate to you.” (Genesis 22:2; NWT) From which account they establish another general statement – Abraham did not ask God to spare the innocent.
            These statements are woefully – and intentionally – misleading, for they make it seem that they refer to the same instance. If I wanted to rebuff the skptic, I’d say, “Abraham is not a robot, he doesn’t always do the same thing! If Abraham pleaded with God (who wasn’t going to save Sodom, or destroy the righteous – 2 Peter 2:9) to save some innocent men, but later refused to plea for the innocent people of another city that would not prove that the Bible contradicted itself! Rather, it would show that Abraham is a person with the inconsistencies of a human.”
            However, I wish to give a true rebuttal of the claim made, not for the skeptic who twisted the scriptures, who knows the answer to begin with, but for you. It is clear that the situations were different, so we can conclude that Abraham had not changed in character so much to become indifferent to the death of an innocent man that was his “only son whom [he] so love[d]!” Why then did he react in a different way? For one thing he likely learned the lesson that Peter drew from the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, namely: “Jehovah knows how to rescue people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people to be destroyed on the day of judgement.” (2 Peter 2:9) Abraham knew that Isaac would be in some fashion be preserved; the scriptures say “he reasoned that God was able to raise him up even from the dead.” (Hebrews 11:19) Something that our skeptic missed while he was critiquing the Bible from that self-same chapter earlier – have they not eyes? Further Abraham suspected that God would provide a substitute, saying: “God will provide himself the sheep for the burnt offering.” – Genesis 22:8
            Therefore, Abraham, knowing that Jehovah would preserve Isaac, or at least be able to raise him up, saw no need to ask Jehovah to spare him. This was not a punishment, and Abraham, while previously entertaining doubts, learned that even in those cases Jehovah spares the innocent. Therefore the tenor of each incident is too different even to make a contradiction appear.

[1] As he did with the prohibition against blood, or against murder which is self-evidently wrong.

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